Meillassoux and German Idealism, with incidental thoughts on “blog philosophy”

I have finally read Meillassoux’s After Finitude, and I am deeply impressed. At the same time, I am distressed by the ways I see him being received in blog circles, because I have almost never experienced such a yawning gap between the way a thinker is presented and the way he seems to be “in himself.” It seems to me, however, that this gap is rooted in Meillassoux himself — it corresponds to the gap between his actual argumentation and his rhetorical positioning. The blog reception seems to be dominated by his more programmatic statements, which in my mind are often overblown and actually obscure what’s going on in his argumentation.

It seems to me that there is a kind of serendepity linking together the main “theoretical” works I’ve read in the last few months — the Gabriel/Zizek book, Rose’s Hegel Contra Sociology, and Meillassoux’s After Finitude. Though I read them all for different reasons, all of them obviously deal with the aftermath of Kant, and despite Meillassoux’s programmatic statements, he seems to take things in a very similar direction to Rose (whose refrain that the Hegelian step beyond Kant requires the absolute to be thinkable) or Gabriel (whose inclusion of Meillassoux in a discussion of the consequences of German Idealism seems much more appropriate and even obvious after actually reading Meillassoux rather than relying on second-hand accounts).

Drawing on Rose, I would claim that Meillassoux’s “correlationism” is essentially neo-Kantianism and that Meillassoux’s own work is an attempt to go back behind neo-Kantianism and recover the “missed opportunity” encapsulated in post-Kantian Idealism. Continue reading “Meillassoux and German Idealism, with incidental thoughts on “blog philosophy””

On understanding Gillian Rose somewhat

For the last week, I’ve been working my way through the very frequently recommended Hegel Contra Sociology by Gillian Rose — and I do mean “working,” because it is a very dense book that arguably draws a bit too much on Hegel’s writing style as well as his ideas.

As I was getting toward the end, I began to feel lost and went casting about for articles that might help. This one looked promising, until I came to this sentence:

One problem regarding Rose’s critique of Marxism is precisely her focus on Marxism as a specifically “philosophical” problem, as a problem more of thought than of action.

At that point, I realized I had probably understood more than I thought — certainly enough to realize that one of Rose’s primary goals is to critique the simplistic Marxist dichotomy between theory and practice.